Dear Elon Musk,
The photo of you surrounded by a team of your employees at Twitter, taken at the headquarters in San Francisco, is generating many comments.
Many criticize the lack of diversity. They juxtapose another photo, showing the smiling faces of people who they say used to work there. (TheStreet could not verify that these were ex-Twitter staffers; the people were not identified.)
In the image are mainly women, primarily white women, as opposed to your photo, showing mainly men, largely white and Asian.
For other Twitter users, the photo taken with you is synonymous with diversity because it is dominated by Asian faces.
Everyone has a personal point of view.
It's a discussion that has merit: It puts the subject of diversity out front in the public arena.
Diversity -- inclusion of people of various genders, colors, socioeconomic backgrounds, more -- is important.
You will tell me that the employees surrounding you in the photo are deserving engineers; that they are la crème de la crème of software developers. Essentially, that you favor meritocracy.
The Musk Revolution
But when you build a platform that you often rightly describe as the Town Square of Our Time, or the Roman Agora, or the Village Square in Africa, it takes more than merit. It takes different people, different experiences lived through gender, origin, skin color.
How does one welcome everyone in the Village Square when those who built it do not really know the habits and customs of the neighboring villages?
If the people who will work on the algorithms that will be applied at Twitter do not represent certain segments of the population, how could they build a platform that is meant to invite everyone?
Mr. Musk, you have said many times that you want to revolutionize the world as we know it. But will the Musk revolution be tailored only to the experiences and the needs of Asian and white men?
Here's what you said at Tesla's AI day last September:
"Optimus is designed to be an extremely capable robot, but made in very high volume, probably ultimately millions of units, and it is expected to cost much less than a car. I would say probably less than $20,000 would be my guess," you said talking about the company's humanoid robot.
"This means a future of abundance, a future where there is no poverty, where people, you can have whatever you want, in terms of products and services. It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it."
You Aspire to Be a Global CEO
The global CEO that you aspire to be must build with everyone for everyone.
You see, Mr. Musk, I was born and raised in Cameroon, in Central Africa, and I spent a large part of my life in Paris. I am a French citizen. It is my background and it defines me and influences my approach to things.
For example, when I cover you at TheStreet, my background influences my approach when I have to write a story based on your cryptic tweets. We at TheStreet regularly debate how to cover you. I can tell you that opinions differ and they are all influenced by our personal stories. Didn't Aristotle, in the Politics, say man is a "political animal?"
The people around you will build Twitter and X, the everything app, based on their stories. Except that the stories of a large number of people may not be taken into account. For many young people around the world -- my son included -- you are a bright light.
Don't let this light shine only on a circle of the few.
Diversity is more than just a word. It is not only meant to demonstrate political propriety. Its absence tells some young girls and boys that they have no right to dream because those who make a difference do not look like them.
You have decided to revolutionize the world. It is also your duty to ensure that your vision speaks to everyone.
The global CEO will be judged by this yardstick.
PS: I sent a request to Twitter for official figures on the current number of Black, Latino and female employees there. I await a response.